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Archiver > GRIFFEE > 2000-02 > 0949995045

From: Robert Wilder-Jones <>
Subject: Griffee Info
Date: Mon, 07 Feb 2000 23:30:45 -0800

I'm off to the National Archives tomorrow to check some census
films, but wanted to get some basic info off to you
first. Hopefully more to come.

Descendants of [Joseph?] Thomas Griffee (1802-1846)

I. Thomas Griffee was born on 3 Mar 1802, probably in Kentucky
but possibly in Wales. He married Rachel Atkinson on 28 Oct 1824
in Kentucky(?). He died on 15 Oct 1846 in Coldbrook Twp, Warren
County, Illinois, at age 44, and is buried in Ogden Cemetery there.

Thomas and Rachel's children were:

A. William Griffee was born on 1 Nov 1825 near Brandenburg,
Breckinridge, Kentucky. He married (1) Harriett Wallace, daughter
of Thomas Clelland Wallace and Margaret 'Peggy' Murphy, on 4 Nov
1846 in Coldbrook Twp, Warren, Illinois. He married (2) Addiville
Means on 23 Mar 1879. He died on 29 Dec 1895 in Coldbrook Twp,
Warren Co, Illinois, at age 70. According to his hand-written
note, William Griffee "came to this county [Warren Co., IL] from
Brandinburg, Breckenridge Co., Kentucky in the fall of 1834 when
he was but nine (9) yrs old and has always lived in almost the
center of Coldbrook ty except one year[?] in Knox Co."

B. Marshall Griffee was born on 2 May 1827 in Kentucky. He
married (1) Jane Claycomb on 28 Apr 1850 in Warren County,
Illinois. He married (2) Martha Jane Pedigo on 18 Jul 1870 in
Galesburg, Warren [Knox?] County, Illinois. He left IL for Kansas
in 1871, wintered in Ridgeway, MO, crossed the Missouri at St.
Joseph and settled 7 miles southwest of Marysville, Kansas in the
Blue River Valley. He died on 19 Jun 1908 in Marysville, Kansas,
at age 81.

C. Daniel Griffee was born on 27 Jan 1829 in Kentucky. He
married Emily Porter on 10 Oct 1860 in Knox Co, Illinois. He left
IL for Kansas in 1871, wintered in Ridgeway, MO, crossed the
Missouri at St. Joseph and continued through Marysville and
Concordia to Hutchinson, Kansas, settling in Rice County near
Sterling. He died on 25 Dec 1877 in Sterling, KS, at age 48.

D. Mary L. Griffee was born on 6 Apr 1832 in KY. She married
John Henry Frymire on 21 Jun 1849 in Warren County, Illinois.
They left IL in 1871 and settled in Missouri.

E. Lucy Griffee was born on 19 Jul 1834 in Illinois. She married
George W. Bruner on 5 Jun 1854 in Warren County, Illinois. They
left IL in 1871 and settled in Missouri.

F. Martha Jane Griffee was born on 17 Sep 1836 in Illinois. She
married David Gillespie on 30 May 1854 in Warren County,
Illinois. They left IL in 1871 and settled in Missouri. "They had
8 children."

G. James Hardesty Griffee was born on 1 Jul 1838 in Illinois. He
Left IL for Kansas in 1871, wintered in Ridgeway, MO, crossed the
Missouri at St. Joseph and continued through Marysville and
Concordia to Kirwin, Kansas, where he bought a relinquishment on
the bank of Bow Creek 7 miles southwest of town. He married
Caroline Shurts before 1884. He died in 1901 in Kirwin, KS.

H. Thomas Scott Griffee was born on 15 Mar 1840 in IL. He
married Paradine Wallace, daughter of Thomas Clelland Wallace and
Margaret 'Peggy' Murphy, on 16 Jun 1861 in Warren County,
Illinois. He died on 12 Oct 1864 in Warren County, Illinois, at
age 24.

I. Ann Eliza 'Lida' Griffee was born on 26 Apr 1842 in IL.

J. Sara Griffee was born on 10 May 1845 in Illinois. She married
Ed Greene.

The following history was written by James I. Griffee of Axtell,
Kansas [the son of James Hardesty Griffee] and his wife Zetta. My
notes are shown in [] and Robin Griffee Hall's [the compiler of
World Family Tree #1671] in {}.

My story of the pioneer life in Kansas begins in the coal mining
country of Wales -- the country described in the book, 'How Green
Was My Valley' by Richard Llewellyn. In the early 1800's, three
Griffee brothers, Joseph [Thomas?], John, and Bartholomew dreamed
of the promised land of America. One day a freighter sounded its
foghorn, thrilling the villagers to adventure. When it docked to
refuel, the three Griffee brothers were among the men at the
dock. When the captain stated that he was short of seamen for
the voyage, the oldest brother asked, 'Where to?' The answer was
'Boston', and the brothers decided to become seamen for the
journey. After landing in Boston, the boys helped to unload the
cargo, drew their wages, and went ashore. They went to
Pennsylvania where they worked for a few years as coal miners,
then answered the call for settlers in Kentucky.

{There are no ships passenger lists to authenticate that three
Griffee brothers ever arrived. The closest I have been able to
find to the current spelling of our name is a Samuel Griffe who
arrived in Philadelphia in 1732. Kentucky census records for 1800
show: Bartlett Griffey in Jefferson County, KY, Samuel Griffey in
Jefferson County, KY; In 1810: (Still spelled as Griffey) James,
Joseph and Susanna in Franklin County, KY, Thomas in Campbell
County, KY,Bartlett in Jefferson County, KY, Joseph in Jefferson
County, KY, Joseph in Franklin County, KY, Samuel in Jefferson
County, KY. There was also a John Griffay in Warren County, KY.
It is possible that the author confused Bartholomew with
Bartlett, but there are still no ships records showing their names.}

The three brothers built a small flatboat, and drifted down the
Ohio River, settling at Brandonbury, {actually Brandonburg}
Kentucky. Descendents still live on the original homestead six
miles southeast of town. {I was able to reach Stuart Griffe and
his wife Mildred in Brandonburg, and they confirm that they live
on the original property, but it was not homesteaded, it was
purchased.} The Griffee brothers married Kentucky belles and
prospered with slave labor until 1855 when the threat of war over
slavery changed the picture. Joseph, grandfather of the author,
said to his two brothers, 'No blood is to be shed over my
niggers.' [He actually left in 1834 and died in 1846. He did own
nine slaves, but probably left for better land in Illinois.] He
and his wife and their eight children with their families [only
four children in 1834, all under age 9] started north in three
covered wagons and settled near Galesbury {actually Galesburg},

In 1871 the urge of pioneering called again. This time three
daughters of Joseph with their husbands and families -- the
Frimeres (spelling), the Galispies, and the Bruners -- and three
sons -- Marshall, Daniel, and James -- started for Kansas in 6
covered wagons. They came as far as Missouri in 1871 and spent
the winter near Ridgeway. The three sisters and husbands decided
it was slow traveling to go farther, but the three brothers
started west again in 1872. They crossed the Missouri River at
St. Joseph and came on to Marysville, Kansas where Marshall
located 7 miles south west of town in the Blue River valley. The
other two brothers went on to Concordia, but the land there had
all been homesteaded. The brothers parted, Dan going south to
Hutchinson. He staked his claim in Rice County near
Sterling. James went on west to Kirwin where with the help of a
land agent, Sam Dundon, he bought a relinquishment to 160 acres
for a dollar an acre.

There were no improvements except a dugout on the bank of Bow
Creek, 7 miles south west of Kirwin. Here he made his home for
his life time of many hardships. In 1884, Mr. and Mrs. Griffee
buried five little children within two weeks time -- victims of
black diptheria. On September 13, 1885, the author, James
Griffe, the second, first made his appearance. I recall my mother
covering the ceiling with unbleached muslin and dropping the same
material to make partitions. The floor was of dirt. There were
two open fronts to the dugout. One cold winter, the dog froze his
ears off sleeping in a window.

Well do I remember some of the tales of the west in early days.
Father had brought a barrel from Illinois. He cut it in two to
make a watering trough. One day a band of roving Indians going
south into no man's land to hunt, discovered the barrel and took
the steel hoops, leaving Father again without a watering trough.

One day some Indians went by riding one pony and leading another
that carried three puppies in a saddle bag. Father tried to buy
one. The old Indian gave a grunt and said, 'Make much soup' and
rode away.

There were many hardships in the early days -- grasshoppers,
prairie fires, dust storms and drought but we survived. I have
lived to see bleeding, early Kansas grow into one of the best
states in the union. I have seen the passing of the cradle, the
reaper, the binder, the header, the horse-powered threshing
machine, the steam engine, the gas engine, yokes of oxen, the
lumber wagon, the buckboard, the top buggy, the surrey, the
carriage, the breaking plow, the walking lister, the (hurlie or
mulie) cultivator -- all have long since been replaced by modern

In closing, may I extend a cordial welcome to all the descendants
of the three brothers from Wales to attend our Griffee reunion,
which is held the last Sunday in July each year at the City Park
at Blue Rapids, Kansas. Any letters will be welcome and
treasured. Sincerely yours, James I. Griffee, Axtell, Kansas *
The above was especially written for the many Griffee
descendants. At one time there were over 200 Griffee descendants
in Marshall County, Kansas.

[The Kansas reunions have unfortunately ceased in recent years,
but a Griffee branch in South Dakota still holds reunions in the
Black Hills every five years -- next one in 2003.]

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